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Slow City print

In September 2009, Yesan-gun received the honorable distinction of being named the world’s 121st ‘Slow City’ and number six in Korea. The globalized ‘Slow City’ movement celebrates a more measured pace of life that allows citizens to cultivate tradition and focus on things with sustaining value. Yesan is a city that fits these qualifications to a tee; it is a place of beautiful natural wonders, traditional culture and a strong community spirit. The city’s listing among the world’s ‘slow cities’ is due in part to the area’s unique regional cuisine made using freshwater fish caught at the city’s pristine Yeodang Reservoir. Particularly popular among anglers for its picturesque views and abundance of fish, Yeodang Reservoir is one of the nation’s natural treasures. Catches from the reservoir and the sweet, juicy apples grown in the area’s fertile yellow soil have resulted in the creation of delicious, high-quality dishes that have become known nationwide. In addition to its natural resources, Yesan is a culturally rich town that continually strives to preserve its time-honored historical sites and cultural assets. There are several Hyanggyo, old-fashioned educational institutions, set up in the area and the people of Yesan continue to pay tribute to Confucius (孔子, 551 BC - 479 BC, founder of Confucianism) in a ceremony known as ‘Jesa,’ as they have for the past 600 years.

Specialties of Yesan
Yellow Soil Apples of Yesan

Yesan has been a main apple producer since the 1920s. Yesan has perfect natural conditions for growing apples: abundant sunlight in the fall, proper day and nighttime temperatures, and other natural conditions perfect for apple growing. Combined with time-honored farming skills, apples in Yesan are famous for their taste, juicy yet firm flesh, and fresh, sweet smell. Thanks to the plentiful sunlight and the fertile yellow soil, Yesan apples are rich in natural sugars that help aid digestion; organic acid and vitamins that are effective in relieving fatigue; and calcium, which is believed to prevent hypertension. In addition to their far-reaching health benefits, Yesan apples are famous nationwide for their beautiful color and great taste. The town of Yesan holds biennial apple festivals to celebrate this important fruit. During the festivities, visitors may sample apples, judge the taste of apples from different growers, and even go on an apple-picking expedition.

‘Good Brotherhood Rice’

The name ‘Good Brotherhood Rice’ was developed and registered by the government office of Yesan-gun and is a title only given to products that meet the government office’s regulations of quality control. The ‘Good Brotherhood Rice’ seal guarantees that the rice has been produced in an eco-friendly way: using organic fertilizers and without the use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers.

The story of Two Good Brothers

The story of ‘The Good Brothers’ is the true story of two brothers who lived in the village long ago. There once were two brothers who were very caring and always tried to look after each other. One day, after completing the day’s harvest, the brothers gathered the rice into two equal piles (as was their custom), one for each brother. After looking at his younger brother’s pile, the elder brother decided that his younger brother needed more rice than he did, so he secretly moved some of his rice to his younger brother’s pile. Meanwhile, the younger brother who had been thinking exactly the same thing as his elder brother - that his elder brother would need more rice than he did – moved his rice to the elder brother’s pile. After coming back home, they both found that their own pile looked the same as it had before, despite their efforts. Puzzling as it was, both brothers shrugged it off and continued their work throughout the night. At daybreak, the two brothers ran into each other on their way to and from the rice piles. As the two brothers suddenly realized what had been going on, they were moved to tears by the other’s thoughtfulness and selfless love, falling into each other’s embrace in the middle of the pathway. Later the King honored the two brothers as the perfect examples of brotherly love and filial piety. To this day in Yesan, there stands a statue of these good brothers from the Joseon Dynasty-style, with a plague bearing the title ‘Yesan Yi Seong-Man Good Brothers Monument.’

Tourist Attractions
Yedang Reservoir

Yedang Reservoir, created in 1962, is the largest reservoir in Korea and spans an area of 1,088 hectares. Aside from providing water resources to the landlocked central region of Korea, it is also home to a myriad of fish, including Crucian Carp, carp, and eel. Though visited from people from all walks of life, it is a favorite haunt of anglers who consider the reservoir one of the prime spots to enjoy wide-open, beautiful scenery and, of course, catch plenty of fish. After the main fishing season ends in late fall, a large of number of people still frequent the banks of the reservoir to enjoy ice fishing once the waters have frozen over. For those simply wanting to get some exercise, there is an impressive walking course (40km) that winds around the reservoir, treating visitors to gorgeous views of the deep blue reservoir water standing in stark contrast against the vivid green of the surrounding woods.

☞ Go to Yedang Reservoir
Imjonseong Fortress

Imjonseong Fortress (also known as the Daeheungsanseong Fortress), located on top of Bongsusan Mountain in Chungcheongnam-do Yesan-gun Daeheung-myeon, is a stone fortress that was constructed during the Baekje Kingdom (18 BC - 660 AD). The fortress is about 2.5m in height, 3.5m in width, and has an outside perimeter that snakes around for a total of 2.4km. Records show that it was the central hub of the Restoration Movement of the Baekje Kingdom and was originally created with the express purpose of protecting the area from the powers to the north. A walk along the winding trail is the perfect way to explore the historical area and get a great view of the nearby Yedang Lake.

☞ Location: Chungcheongnam-do Yesan-gun Gwangsi-myeon Dongsan-ri San 10
Daeheungdongheon Government Office

Daeheungdongheon, which embodies the deep-seated history of the region, is a rectangular-shaped government administration office. The Korean word ‘Dongheon’ refers to the public office / headquarters for the top city official. Originally created in 1407, Daeheungdongheon was renovated to its current state in 1981. In addition to its impressive history, the building’s landscaped front lawn and surrounding stately trees make it a place well worth visiting. Only the Dongheon office building and the Amun Gate (the main gate of the building) remain standing today.

☞ Location: Chungcheongnam-do Yesan-gun Daeheung-myeon Dongseo-ri 106-1
Filming Spot of ‘Hometown over the Hill’

‘Hometown over the Hill’ was first broadcast in October 2007 and is the only rural drama that is still on the air (as of March 2010). The drama was filmed all throughout the town, capturing the many tourist attractions of Yesan-gun such as the Yedang Reservoir, Imjonseong Fortress, Daeheungdongheon Government Office, The Good Brothers Park, and the apple orchard that produces the area’s famed fruit. Public buildings like the local elementary school, post office, and public health center also make regular appearances in the drama and visitors can tours these places to get a better feel for the agricultural lifestyle portrayed in the drama.

☞ Click here for ‘Hometown Over the Hill'
Yesan Folktale Festival

The Yesan Folktale Festival is a cultural celebration that is an educational, tourism and cultural experience based on the local folktales passed down from generation to generation (such as the story of ‘The Good Brothers’). The festival is held every September in the area surrounding Yedang Lake and the Good Brothers Park. It’s a perfect place for a family outing, as there are many hands-on experience programs for children.

☞ For more information: +82-41-339-7303
Yedang National Fishing Competition

The Yedang Reservoir, the best fishing spot in Korea, is the stage for a number of national fishing competitions. Fishers and non-fishers alike populate the area all year-round to enjoy the picturesque view, but the area truly becomes a hotspot for tourists and anglers during the fishing festivities in late March of each year. Competition registration starts in early March and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. All 1000 spots usually fill up within the first few days, so if you wish to participate, sign-up early. The competition runs all day and whoever catches the biggest fish by the end of the day is declared the winner.

☞ For more information: +82-41-333-0545
☞ Official website: (Korean)

Local Delicacies

Steamed Yedang Crucian Carp
Fresh carp straight from the sparkling Yedang Lake is steamed with dried radish leaves and beans. The soft and flaky taste of the freshwater fish harmonizes with the fresh tangy side ingredients, resulting in a taste explosion. Even if you do not usually enjoy fish, it’s hard to resist the rich and refreshing taste of fish caught just meters from the lakeside restaurants at Yedang Lake.

< Restaurant Info. >
☞ Dolgorae Hoegwan: +82-41-332-2540
☞ Julpo Hoegwan: +82-41-333-9000


Fresh Water Eojuk (fish soup)
Fish soup is the most famous local delicacy in Yesan, which is made using the fish as the main ingredient with rice and other seasonings serving to only boost the flavor of the seafood. Making the soup takes a lot of time and energy. First, the fish is steamed whole. After all the meat is removed, the meat is placed in a pot and boiled with Gochujang (red pepper paste) or Doenjang (bean paste) for quite some time. This distinctive dish is one of the area’s best ‘slow foods’ and has a nutty and fresh taste with no off-putting fishy smell, and is a healthy, all-nature dish rich in protein and calcium.

☞ Yedang Garden (restaurant) : +82-41-333-4473
☞ Orijang Restaurant : +82-41-332-0392
☞ Minmulnara (restaurant) : +82-41-333-8485

How to get there

By Bus
Seoul Nambu Terminal (Exit #5 of Nambu Bus Terminal Station on Subway Line #3) → Yesan Central Bus Terminal (07:00 - 19:05, five times a day, total travel time of 2hrs and 10min)
☎ Contact Info: Yesan Central Bus Terminal (+82-41-333-2921~2)

By Train (KTX)
Seoul Yongsan Station (Located on Subway Line 1) → Yesan Station (05:40 - 20:20, 17 times a day, total travel time of 1hr and 50min)
☎ Contact Info: +82-41-335-7788 (Yesan Station Information Center)

Travel TIP

Planning to travel around Yesan sometime between April and November? Then try the free Bus Tour offered by the Yesan-gun City Office! Even people living in Seoul can comfortably tour Yesan in just one day. The bus leaves at 10:00 from the Yesan Bus Terminal, takes visitors all around the major tourist attractions of the region and back again to the bus terminal. There is even an exciting array of hands-on experience programs—such as apple picking or harvesting sweet potatoes—that vary with the season. Individual participants are responsible for any additional costs (i.e. admission fees, meals, souvenirs, etc.).

☞ Reservations and Inquiries: +82-41-339-7312~4 (Culture & Tour department of Yesan-gun Town Office)

☞ Official website: (Korean)

Yesan is only a short two-hour ride from Seoul, allowing for a short day trip, but visitors preferring touring at a more leisurely pace should check out the accommodations & amenities at ‘Forest House,’ located in the Bongsusan (Mt.) Natural Recreation Forest. Surrounding on all sides by the forest’s natural beauty, visitors have the opportunity to relax in the heart of nature and can even use the basic cooking facilities to prepare themselves a light meal.

☞ Reservations and Inquiries: +82-41-339-8937~8 (Management Office of Bongsusan Mountain Natural Recreation Forest), +82-41-339-7621(Yesan-gun Town Office)

☞ Official website of Bongsusan Mountain Natural Recreation Forest: (Korean)

Below are two lodging facilities that have been reviewed, certified, and recognized by Korea Tourism Organization as ‘Best Hotels & Accommodations.'

☞ Gaya Tourist Hotel:
- Reservations and Inquiries: +82-41-337-0101
- Official website: (Korean)
- Click here for Gaya Tourist Hotel

☞ Yesan Grand Motel
- Reservations and Inquiries: +82-41-334-8934

Yesan-gun Tourist Information Center

☞ Address: Chungcheongnam-do Yesan-gun Deoksan-myeon Sinpyeong-ri 513
☞ Inquiries : +82-41-339-8930 (Office Hours: 10:00 - 18:00)
☞ Korea Travel Phone: +82-41-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)


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